I got a call yesterday from someone keenly interested in one of my short sales. He was in the neighborhood and couldn't find the house. I talked him through thanks to Google maps, and we spoke all about the house. He said he'd like to see the inside, and I offered to set up an appointment to show him. He said I really didn't have to drive out there, because if the house had a lockbox he 'd show himself in. I replied that an agent would have to accompany on all showings. At that point, 10 minutes into the conversation, he said that he was, in fact, an agent.
And that saved me a trip. But it would have been nice to know about 9.5 minutes earlier that I was speaking with a colleague and not a consumer.
Also yesterday, I got an Internet request for a showing of a home from my IDX site. It wasn't my listing, but that happens sometimes, and I set up the showing. This particular house happened to be on Long Island, about an hour away, but it fit into my afternoon and made the trek as soon as my 2pm appointment was over. I was running about 10 minutes behind when I got a call from the woman. She was in front of the house. I told her that I was not far, and that I'd be there shortly. She said she noticed that people seemed to be home- could she see it without me?
I said she needed me to show her in because I'm an agent. She said I am an agent. I had just paid a $5.00 toll for the Throgs Neck Bridge. Curious, I asked her why she'd contacted me through my website and not the MLS. She wasn't sure. She didn't remember. Her contact form said nothing about her being licensed. Why an MLS member would use my IDX for her search instead of the the, um, say, MLS is beyond me. She said nothing about her status in our numerous phone conversations, nor did her voicemail message reveal anything.
Now, I can live with a 10 minute conversation borne of misunderstanding. I can't live with a $10 toll bill and 90 minutes of my life lost for the same reason. Should I have asked these people if they were working with an agent? Yes. I should have. But folks, the protocol in our industry is to identify ourselves and our firm. If I contact you, I am Phil from J. Philip Real Estate. Always. That way, you don't have to read my mind. This is not a tall order. In some businesses, they make their associates wear goofy name tags and odd-colored polyester uniforms so you know they are with that company. We don't need to do that. We just have to open our mouths. And most of us are pretty good at that.
Tell me who you are so I don't waste my time. I need to know. It isn't too much to ask.